Daryl Dixon asks the questions we need answers in The Walking Dead spin-off

One thing we do know about Daryl is that his childhood was pretty awful. While the series thankfully avoids showing much of the abuse he endured as a child, it’s very clear from the text that his father was a mean alcoholic and his mother was negligent, leaving his brother Merle as his primary role model. This is not good because Merle is not a good guy and as a result he spent most of his youth in a juvenile prison. When their mother died in a fire, Daryl wandered alone through the woods for more than a week, only to return home to his father, who didn’t even notice he was gone. Merle joins the military, leaving Daryl to bear the brunt of his father’s abuse until the brothers are reunited in adulthood.


However, Merle is not exactly a knight in shining armor when he returns. In fact, his cruelty towards Daryl is similar to that of their parents, only more subtle. He instills in Daryl the belief that he is worthless and will never achieve anything in life. This mindset continues into the zombie apocalypse until Daryl begins to make sense as part of the group. Although Merle dies at a time when it’s still devastating for Daryl, it’s easy to see that their truce as brothers was quickly coming to an end. However, Daryl refers to his brother even in the ending, noting that he sent him to donate blood when they were younger. What we know about Daryl’s childhood is rough and we’re left to wonder if the show will return to that. Will we see young Daryl in flashbacks? Or will the spin-off be too preoccupied with contemporary issues to reopen old wounds? Time will show.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of child abuse, contact the National Child Support Helpline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.


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